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Do You Know Where Your Car's Model Name Comes From?

Have you ever wondered how car manufacturers come up with the names for their models? From the sleek and sporty Ford Mustang to the reliable Volkswagen Golf, car names can evoke feelings of power, adventure and luxury.

But where do these names come from? In this blog post, we'll explore the fascinating origins of some of the most iconic car model names in the industry and uncover the stories behind the names that have become synonymous with driving excellence. Read on as we discuss some of the car model names that have a lexical backstory, rather than just an alphanumeric name as many car brands opt for today.


Many models that German car manufacturer Volkswagen produce are named after winds. The Polo refers to polar winds, whilst the Golf is named after the Gulf Stream. The models such as the Passat and Scirocco also follow this trend, with the first meaning ‘trade wind’ and the latter being named after the Mediterranean wind Sirocco.

All the vehicles in Volkswagen’s SUV range begin with the letter T, such as the T-cross, T-Roc, Tiguan and Toureg. The Tiguan takes its name from blending the German words for ‘tiger’ and ‘iguana’. Volkswagen’s first ever SUV, the Toureg, was named after a nomadic tribe from the Sahara and the word translates into ‘free folk’.


The Ford Fiesta takes its name from the Spanish word for ‘party’ and was given this name after Ford opened a factory in Spain. Sticking with the alliterative theme, the Ford Focus was rumoured to have been impulsively given its name after the originally planned name was leaked before its launch.

Various Ford models are named after animals, such as the Puma and the Kuga (alternative spelling of cougar). The iconic Ford Mustang, however, is not actually named after the horse, but instead the P-51 Mustang fighter plane from World War 2.


Since 1982, all Seat models have been named after cities and towns in Spain. Ibiza, Leon, Arona and Ateca are all examples of Seat models named after cities and towns in the country.


The Vauxhall Corsa takes its name from the Italian word for ‘race’. The Astra’s name is derived from the word ‘Astralis’, meaning ‘of the stars’. The Vauxhall Mokka takes its name inspiration from the coffee beans of the Coffee Arabica variety – with Vauxhall stating these beans are ‘refined and full of character’, much like this vehicle.


The Honda Jazz has got its name from the music genre or the type of dance, Honda have not confirmed. The Honda Civic takes its name from the word ‘citizen’ as the car was designed to be the perfect car for the everyday citizen.

The CR-V was named after the initials of the words “comfortable, runabout, vehicle”, and was given this name as it was designed to be a car that made various driving styles comfortable.


Renault have named their smaller, more agile cars after shorter girl’s names, such as Clio and Zoe. The Renault Espace takes its name after the French word for ‘space’, as it is a large and spacious vehicle. The dynamic Renault Twingo takes its name from a word blending of the words ‘twist’, ‘sing’ and ‘tango’.

It can be said that there is no clearcut formula car manufacturers take when it comes to naming their car models, as they can be taken from initialisms, foreign languages and word blends just to name a few. Next time you come across a vehicle with an interesting model name, take a moment to consider the thought process that went into the car taking that name.

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